FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - 2021 Elite Qualifying Requirements Announcement?
Old Nov 11, 19, 2:21 am
  #34  
SeattleDavid
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Gatwick, UK
Programs: UA *G, AA EXP
Posts: 1,412
This whole area is in desperate need of serious innovation and design – with the primary goal of bringing back into alignment customer and business needs. The current schemes are based on a very outdated alignment and the endless tweaks are attempts to re-align but without making really big changes. The new United model feels like a 1990's solution designed completely to favor the airline over the customer.

One radical direction would be to almost get rid of status altogether – maybe keep it for check-in, boarding, baggage privileges and an earning multiplier. Beyond that allow segments, miles and dollars to earn rewards of each customer's choosing (free flight vouchers, upgrade vouchers, lounge access vouchers, etc etc). This could enable massive simplification (just segments, miles and dollars, no EQMs, EQDs, etc) and using vouchers could remove the need for award charts, but would mean that the customer could still feel as though they got a bargain. There would be challenges, such as working out how to combine segments, miles and dollars into one currency, and whether to provide cabin bonuses or simply allow dollars to balance that out, and how to earn status. Or maybe status is just another reward one can choose and the underlying earning model is non-linear (the more points you have earned in the past <x> months, the more points you earn on this flight).

This particular kind of model might not be right, but an airline brave enough to think this boldly, and willing to invest in it (through improved customer rewards for everyone, but that actually reward behaviours that benefit the airline too) could, I believe, reap significant benefits.
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